May 24, 2009

The Los Angeles Sol continue to dominate nine weeks into the inaugural Women's Professional Soccer season. With 23 WPS players out on national-team duty for either the U.S. or Canada, the lineups for all six teams were a bit different this week. Regardless, the Sol picked up a 2-0 win over FC Gold Pride to retain the league's top spot with a 5-1-2 record. The win helped Los Angeles break away from the pack with 17 points.

The Boston Breakers (3-2-2, 11 points), who sat out the week with a bye, remain in second place. FC Gold Pride (3-4-1, 10 points) stays in third. The Washington Freedom (2-2-3, nine points) and St. Louis Athletica (2-2-2, eight points) were the big surprises of the weekend, both earning their second wins of the season.

WASHINGTON -- Cat Whitehill and Lisa Devanna tallied goals to lead the Freedom to a 2-1 win over Sky Blue FC.

"It's just good to get a win right now," Whitehill said. "It's encouraging. The first half we came out and we really had possession of the ball. The second half we were a little sloppy and they came after us a little bit. So I was glad to get the win."

A surreal day for Sky Blue started with the news that General Manager and Head Coach Ian Sawyers was suspended indefinitely from his duties. Top assistant Kelly Lindsey served as the interim coach. With that shakeup and four starters missing, Sky Blue still managed to put up a fight.

Washington jumped up to a 2-0 lead in an eight-minute span ending the first half. Sonia Bompastor rocketed a corner kick into the box. Whitehill tapped the short ball into the net for a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute.

DeVanna found herself in the right place at the right time in the 43rd minute. She took advantage of a misplayed ball and dribbled it toward goal. DeVanna beat defender Keeley Dowling and shot the ball just inside the right post for a 2-0 lead.

In the second half Sky Blue FC's Rosana netted her first goal of the season. Jen Buczkowski forwarded the ball to Natasha Kai, who controlled it and then slipped a perfect ball to Rosana. The Brazilian midfielder netted an easy finish into the lower right corner.

Despite continuing to push, Sky Blue dropped its fourth match of the season and fell to 1-4-2. Washington improved to 2-2-3.

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- St. Louis forward Eniola Aluko was on the starting end of a Red Stars own-goal and then netted another to give the visitors a 2-0 win.

"To play against Chicago is always a complicated thing," Athletica head coach Jorge Barcellos said. "I think we did everything we needed to do."

Aluko sent a shot toward goal in the 25th minute. It bounced off of Red Stars defender Ifeoma Dieke, over goalkeeper Caroline Jonsson and into the net to give Athletica a 1-0 lead.

Kendall Fletcher found an open Aluko in the 41st minute and sent her a short pass. Aluko tapped it into the net to give the club a 2-0 lead. Chicago's Brittany Klein and Cristiane threatened in the final minute of the half, but to no avail.

The Red Stars continued their shots in the second half, including a Cristiane blast in the 61st minute. Carney rocketed a shot toward goal seven minutes later for two of the best opportunities of the match. Athletica goalkeeper Jillian Loyden, who made her WPS debut, easily made the saves.

Chicago failed to convert in each half, despite 12 shots, including six on goal. The Red Stars (2-3-2, eight points) and St. Louis (2-2-2, eight points) are now tied for fifth in the WPS standings. Chicago dropped its third straight match.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- A Camile Abily penalty kick and a Han Duan goal led the Los Angeles Sol to a 2-0 win over FC Gold Pride Sunday evening.

In the 27th minute, Aya Miyami was fouled inside the penalty area. Camille Abily lined up to take the penalty kick. She buried it into the right corner to give the Sol a 1-0 lead.

FC Gold Pride had a decent chance toward the end of the first half. Eriko Arakawa crossed the ball to Tiffany Weimer, who shot the ball toward goal. Sol goalkeeper Val Henderson made the diving save.

Both teams had scoring opportunities in the second half, but the Sol found the net first. After weeks of creating opportunities, Los Angeles' Han Duan finally found the net and sealed the victory for the Sol in the 86th minute. Duan challenged FC Gold Pride goalkeeper Allison Whitworth, causing her to come out of the box. Duan then shot the ball into the net for a 2-0 lead.

"Today was a really great team victory for us," said Los Angeles Sol Head Coach Abner Rogers. "We were missing some of our players, but our entire team pulled together and helped us earn a very good victory."

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